Reviewed byCoventryVote: 9/10/10
I tend to get furious when hearing about Lucio Fulci's reputation as adirector. Too often he's categorized as a no-talented filmmaker, only out toshock and disgust entire audiences with images of pure gore. True, his filmscontain more explicit filth and sickness as your average mainstream Americanproduction, but his films always are of wide range and the plots aregruesomely morbid. Don't Torture a Duckling is yet another story! This filmis a pure gem of the Italian shock cinema! I easily dare to call this film amasterpiece it's an old-fashioned giallo that includes all brilliant aspectsof genuine horror. The film shows the search for a inhuman serial murdererin a small Italian mountain-town. The bodies of 3 young boys are found,horribly mutilated. There are quite a lot of pseudo-madmen in the town butevery trail leads to nowhere. Among the suspects are a greedy bum and ascary woman, obsessed by witchery and voodoo. Like a true mastermind, Fulciknows to find the right creepy tone for his film. He portrays the small townas a claustrophobic and inescapable setting of macabre happenings, supportedby a giddy soundtrack. Fulci also develops himself as a genius storytellerhere. The script always is one step ahead of you and the complex plot willmislead you more than once. In other words, this is a unique giallo (horrorslash murder mystery). The gore isn't presented as grotesque and explicit asin Lucio's later milestones (among them are the legendary Zombie 2, TheBeyond and the New York Ripper), although there still are a few nauseatingand hard-to-watch shock-sequences shown.
Don't torture a Duckling is the most compelling and effective achievementLucio Fulci ever brought forward and it easily ranks among the greatestItalian horror movies ever made. Right next to the masterpieces made byMario Bava and Dario Argento. The film is fascinating from start to finish,some plot aspects are alarmingly realistic and the tension isadrenalin-rushing at all times! A must see for horror fans and an absolutepriority for Italian shock-lovers!
Reviewed byferbs54Vote: 8/10/10
Sporting a title seemingly more suitable for a Looney Tunes featurettethan a grisly giallo, "Don't Torture a Duckling" (1972) is nonethelessa Grade A thriller from horror maestro Lucio Fulci. In this one,someone has been strangling the preteen boys in a rural, southernItalian village and, typical for these gialli, there are many suspects.There's Barbara Bouchet (Patrizia), looking more scrumptiolicious thanyou've ever seen her, a rich girl hiding out after a drug scandal;Florinda Bolkan (Martiara), the local epileptic voodoo woman; herwitchcraft-practicing beau; Giuseppe, the local idiot; the sweet-facedpriest; his dour mother; and on and on. The film features someunusually violent set pieces, including a chain whipping of one of themain characters in a graveyard (one of the most realistically bloodysequences that I've ever seen) and a nifty dukeout when the killer isultimately revealed. The film's bursts of violence compensate for thefact that there are no real scares or suspense to speak of. Still, thisgiallo fascinates, with its unusual rural backdrop, unsettling childmurders, oddball characters, and freaky score by Riz Ortolani. The filmhas been beautifully photographed in what I presume to be MonteSant'Angelo, near the Adriatic in southern Italy (at least, that town'spolice force is thanked in the closing credits). And while subtitlingwould've made this fine-looking DVD work even better (the Americanslang doesn't convince in this rural Italian setting), Anchor Bay is tobe thanked for another job well done. Oh...that title DOES eventuallymake perfect sense, too!
Reviewed byEVOL666Vote: 8/10/10
DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING is one of Fulci's earlier (and honestly, interms of story-line, better...) films - and although not the typical"bloodbath" that Fulci is known for - this is still a very unique andenjoyable film.
The story surrounds a small town where a series of child murders areoccurring. Some of the colorful characters involved in theinvestigations - either as suspects, or those "helping" theinvestigation (or in some cases both) - include the towns police force,a small-time reporter, a beautiful and rich ex-drug addict, a youngpriest and his mother, An old man who practices witchcraft and hisfemale protégé, a mentally handicapped townsman, and a deaf/mute littlegirl. All of these people are interwoven into the plot to createseveral twists and turns, until the actual killer is revealed...
DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING is neither a "classical" giallo or a typicalFulci gore film. Although it does contain elements of both - it is moreof an old-fashioned murder mystery, with darker subject matter and afew scenes of graphic violence (although nothing nearly as strong assome of Fulci's later works). This is a well written film with lots oftwists that kept me guessing up until the end. Recommended forgiallo/murder-mystery fans, or anyone looking to check out some ofFulci's non-splatter films - but don't despair, DON'T TORTURE still hasmore than it's fair share of violence and sleaze. Some may be put offby the subject of the child killings, and one main female character hasa strange habit of hitting on very young boys, which is also kind ofdisconcerting - but if that type of material doesn't bother you, thendefinitely give this one a look. 8.5/10
A reporter and a promiscuous young woman try to solve a series of child killings in a remote southern Italian town that's rife with superstition and distrust of outsiders.